Alice Hoffman at her electrifying best, in a dark, compelling and magical novel about grief, addictive passion and second chances. An electrifying novel about a woman struck by lightning, which brings together, as only Hoffman can, the fabulous and the real, chaos theory and the irrational everyday moment, in a compelling, haunting and sexy novel, with a sharp edge. As in a fairy tale (and the echo in the title is not accidental), the story starts with a little girl who makes a wish one snowy night and ruins her life. Her mother is killed on an icy road. Be careful what you wish for. Later, as a smalltown librarian who knows more than is good for her about ways of death, she lives a quiet life without excitement. One day, standing by her kitchen window, she is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks it into beginning - if only she knew what she was supposed to do with this second chance. She goes in search of Lazarus Jones, a fellow survivor who was struck dead for forty minutes, but walked away. Perhaps this stranger who has seen death face to face can teach her to live without fear.
When she finds him, he is her opposite, a burning man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both are forced to hide their most dangerous secrets - what turned one to ice and the other to fire. The Ice Queen is a haunting story of passion, loss, and the secrets that come to define us, if we're not careful.
This isn’t the type of book I would normally enjoy. The narrator/main character is rather depressing, and I spent a good part of the book wanting to slap her and yell "get a grip, would ya?". However, her initial state just makes her transformation more compelling. And if you ask me, the key to it isn’t Lazarus Jones — it’s her sister-in-law. Lazarus, despite his interesting story, is just another repeat in the pattern of her life.
In my opinion, this book is worth the read if only for the touching end with her brother. It was well worth the frustrating first half.